Johannesburg, 21 September 2023 – More than 18 000 small township-based businesses and spaza shops will, for the first time, have free access to on-demand security services and emergency medical response and business insurance.
Two high-impact South African tech entrepreneurs, Hello Pay and AURA, have joined forces to democratise access to these critical services. Hello Pay, the merchant terminal service of Hello Group, which provides small businesses and spaza shops with digital payment access, has embedded business insurance as well as the emergency response services offered by tech entrepreneur, AURA, as a free offering to its 18 000 customers on the Hello Pay Premium Service.
With an estimated 200 000 spaza shops and many more small businesses across South Africa, especially in the 40 to 50 townships, informal settlements and hostels (TISH) areas, there are significant opportunities to extend these services.
AURA’s platform enables users to activate panic buttons during an emergency. The service links them to immediate on the ground emergency services to keep them and their customers safe, and to create a more secure environment in communities surrounding their businesses.
The system is activated when a business owner presses their panic button during an emergency. Immediately, security and medical response, from vetted security and medical responders that AURA has recruited onto its platform, are deployed. The system is linked to 6 500 armed response vehicles, and the closest responder accepts and responds to the user.
Moosa Manjra, CEO of Hello Group, said: “Hello Pay is our merchant terminal business, which allows small businesses and spazas to collect payments digitally. Besides the obvious security provided by digitising payments, as opposed to cash, we also understand that the personal safety of small business operators is critical to ensuring their success. That is why we decided to embed AURA’s armed response panic service and a basic business insurance cover, to keep our customers safe from both physical and economic harm.”
“Our objective is to ensure that if our customers feel unsafe or face a threat towards their business they can simply press one button, and help will be there within minutes. Furthermore, they are also shielded from any riots or looting event that occurs through the embedded business cover from Hello Pay, which includes SASRIA insurance for riots, strikes, unrest and similar events.”
Warren Myers, founder of AURA said: “AURA has democratised access to emergency response services, making it more affordable, efficient and accessible than ever before. We are determined to make these services available across every township and informal settlement across the country. We provide super quick response times, quicker than most police calls globally, with an average response time of about eight minutes currently for emergency security and medical services.”
A spaza shop owner based in KwaZulu-Natal says the AURA emergency response service has been life-changing for him, as he now feels safe. Before this service he had no security, and was repeatedly targeted. However, criminals now know that he can call private security at the press of a button, and they keep away from his shop.
Another township-based business, specialising in the sale of mobile phones, electronics, furniture and repairs, was targeted during the looting in the Western Cape in August. The shop owner said that everything was taken, including the store counters. Having business insurance with Hello Pay meant that he will suffer no losses due to the cover that is provided as part of his service. “I have been really happy with the service from Hello Pay, and being paid out for my losses means that I can sleep soundly, knowing that I am covered in case something goes wrong,” he said.
Both Hello Pay and AURA are part of the Endeavor SA network of high-impact entrepreneurs and start-ups that are establishing and growing companies in fintech, healthtech, edtech and marketplaces by identifying and solving real on-the-ground problems.
Manjra said that after being introduced to AURA by Endeavor, “we knew it made sense to be able to help keep our customers safe. We are able to give people economic and personal safety with access to services in places where there simply isn’t enough.”
Hello Pay originally provided the service to its clients that opted in, but it is now rolling it out as an embedded service to all customers with a Hello Pay device.
Keeping small business owners safe has a compound effect on the economy, as well as the overall wellbeing of communities as security concerns often make it difficult to operate businesses and inhibits a commercially-viable flow of customers.
Alison Collier, CEO of Endeavor SA, said: “This partnership is highly impactful, both socially and commercially, in that it solves a significant challenge within the township economy, and also works to unlock the entrepreneurial potential within those areas, thereby supporting economic growth and resilience.”
“Our primary aim at Endeavor SA is to support companies that use technology to provide affordable solutions to on-the-ground problems in townships and areas with limited resources. Companies like Hello Pay and AURA are managing to do this commercially, backed by private capital, to positively impact thousands of lives,” says Collier.
About Hello Pay: www.hellopay.co.za
Hello Pay is the latest service offered by the Hello Group. Our custom small merchant products enable small businesses to collect payments digitally, with a slick onboarding process, multiple device options to suit every type of business and settlements seven days a week, leaving the merchant to focus on growing their business.
About AURA: https://aura.services/
Aura is a technology platform which enables anyone to access the closest vetted security and/or medical responder to their location, anywhere, anytime.
About Endeavor South Africa: www.endeavor.co.za
Endeavor South Africa, which opened its offices in 2004, was founded by Adrian Gore, David Frankel, Isaac Shongwe and Paul Harris and is currently chaired by Herman Bosman. The South African office has screened over 60,000 companies and has enlisted the support of 165 active mentors who provide expertise. It currently has ~100 businesses in its portfolio, including one unicorn, go1, co-founded by Melvyn Lubega and Andrew Barnes.
Entrepreneurs have access to mentors and networks, programmes focused on leadership and innovation, and techniques for scaling companies. Endeavor facilitates access to capital through introductions to investors in its global network, Endeavor South Africa’s own Harvest Fund and the Endeavor Global Catalyst Fund. The fund targets an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 25% plus and outsized impact (job creation, diversity and economic growth).
Endeavor South Africa provides access to the full Endeavor Global Mentor Network with both its 165+ active local SA Endeavor Mentors and +5000 Global Mentors.